Day 6: Keizer to Newberg - Grampies Grand Willamette Excursion - CycleBlaze

August 10, 2019

Day 6: Keizer to Newberg

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We felt we had some time today, so we did not try for a specially early departure. This gave the kids a chance to read the blog, so that ( as we have often found), they could find out what we had actually been doing.

It takes time to read the blog.
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Quite quickly after leaving we were back among the crops, all of which are now familiar to us. However that does not by any means imply that we now know what everything is, or the details about their planting, culture, and harvest. Hazelnuts and hops were confirmed as the most common plantings, though nursery stock and cannabis are seen almost as often.

I did manage to pick up a bit more understanding on some of these, much by talking to the donkey raising grower and her sister in law - see below.

The hazelnuts are not shaken from the trees, but just fall when they are ready. Then they are winrowed and ultimately picked up by a machine that also discards debris and dirt. It's to support this system that the ground beneath the trees is kept bare.

Even the large looking plantations we see here do not produce enough for demand, and growers are always encouraged to expand. A goal is to be large enough to be a supplier for the likes of Hershey's chocolate. The hazelnuts themselves are so called to make it clearer to consumers that they are nuts. "Filberts" apparently do not resonate. Also, harvest here is in October, not at all near the feast day of the French St. Philbert, which falls on August 20th. 

There is good reason for the bare earth between trees.
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The nuts grow in tight clusters, and are not at all ready to fall now.
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Looks unripe, I guess.
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Continuing to learn more, we passed Crosby hop farm, which makes a big thing of growing "salmon safe" hops. Say what? Do salmon drink beer, and with the wrong hops are they poisoned? Or, does hop oil or something run off into the streams? I checked it out. It's just that Crosby claims to care for the watershed and riparian zones on their land.  So I guess salmon are free to drink anyone's beer that they want.

Finally, about cannabis. I could not get a definite opinion from the farmer I talked to, who decided not to join the rush to plant the stuff, as to how much or which plots might be THC cannabis vs CBD. But I did learn that those who joined the rush to plant have overwhelmed available processing. So the idea this year is to wait until the hops are harvested, and to use the same people (and machinery?) to harvest and attempt to dry the cannabis. Then it can be hung on to until processing is available.

A roadside sign announced a Cycling Event for today, and of course being so self-centred I thought "How nice - they know we are coming". But of course this was an event we already knew about - called the Luminosa, or Morrison Metric Century, it is a charity ride through the Willamette in support of the Morrison Foundation, which is involved with providing prevention, foster care, mental health, and substance abuse treatment to children, youth, and families.

We stopped to say hi at one of their support stations, and maybe could have gotten some donuts, but actually we already had lots of donuts. All along our route, though, we got to wave to riders. It was not a race, so many were dawdling along, same as us.

They saw us coming?
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Possible free donuts.
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About half way through we arrived at the farmyard where on the way down we had photographed a baby miniature donkey, and had heard from the farmer that the donkeys were his wife's hobby. This time around there was an even younger baby donkey, and we naturally stopped for some photos of this one. 

It was not the husband that arrived to say hi this time, but the actual wife and donkey enthusiast, with her sister-in-law, in a Kawasaki "Mule"  ATV. The back of the ATV was loaded with peaches and nectarines that the two ladies  had just picked on their farm. They offered us to take as many as we wanted, but it was really just one or two we could eat, since transporting ripe peaches is not a bicycle strong point.

The farmers came to say hello
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with an ATV full of fresh fruit!
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We learned that the baby was just two days old, which accounts for why we had not seen her when we first passed by. Unlike the first baby, who it was said was learning to be "stand offish" from her mother, the new baby - Charlotte - was all cuddles, and enjoyed walking between people's legs. 

No doubt the high point of this trip came when we were invited to come through to the barn and paddock and meet Charlotte face to face. The photos below show how really friendly the donkeys were:

A nice welcome from farmers and donkeys
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Mother donkey looks on cautiously
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Laurie MarczakThis must have been an epic trip highlight! Would have been for me, although I admit the peaches would be stiff competition.
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3 years ago
Jacquie GaudetIt looks like baby donkeys are born with full-size ears. How cute!
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3 years ago
It's ok to say hello
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What a sweetie pie
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See you next time
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After the donkeys, we got the real sense that we had this ride nailed, with only about 30 km left to go. There turned out to be one more hurdle, though. The road from Champoeg to Newberg (Northeast St Paul Highway), the one with the final bridge over the Willamette, was just jammed with traffic. The road was generally four lane (two each direction) with a paved shoulder. But when the shoulder narrowed for an overpass or small bridge, and for the big bridge, we had to take one of the lanes.  As before, the drivers were generally ok with this, but one shouted at us, and one tried to shove Dodie out of the lane. It added some excitement. We did not really need it though, having just met the exciting donkeys!

When finally we rolled into the parking lot of our now "good old" Travelodge, Violet raised an arm in triumph. I am not sure if this was in satisfaction over 475 km cycled, or if it reflected the knowledge that hours of pool time lay ahead.  No matter, it was a good trip.

Nailed it!
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Today's ride: 57 km (35 miles)
Total: 475 km (295 miles)

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